Luke Moore (IT Blanchardstown) and Tan Wee Ling (IT Carlow) were respectively crowned champions at the inaugural Student Sport Ireland (SSI)/Badminton Ireland Third Level Men’s and Women’s Singles Open event which took place yesterday in Baldoyle. Moore, who has dominated SSI competitions in recent times with fellow IT Blanchardstown student Megan Bredin, overcame the challenge of Athlone IT’s Wee Lun Foo 21-10 , 21-8, to take home gold in the Men’s Singles. However, the Women’s Singles final proved to be the match of the day, an intriguing three setter between Ling and Bredin ended on a score line of 21-18, 14-21, 21-10, in favour of the IT Carlow student.
The round robin format used in the event ensured that the action was competitive throughout the course of the day and also ensured all players got numerous games. In the MS, Jack Lawlor (IT Tallaght), Luke Moore, and Wee Lun Foo progressed from their groups without dropping a set. Moore however was pushed hard in his first group game by eventual shield winner Justin Deligny (IT Tallaght), winning the second set 21-14 after a scare in the first which saw him edge out his opponent 21-19. Group 4 proved to be action packed, with Jack Davies (Letterkenny IT), Paddy Martin (IT Tallaght), and Brendan McGovern (IT Tralee) all paired together. Davies and Martin had both edged out Annascaul club man McGovern in close games to set up a decisive showdown between the pair to see who would top the group, and it was Davies who eventually prevailed in a see-saw battle.
Semi-final stages of the MS Open threw up two pulsating encounters. In the first of those matches, Jack Lawlor couldn’t capitalise at 19-18 in the first set against Luke Moore, and was narrowly defeated 21-19 in two sets. Wee Lun Foo, a former winner of the SSI Third-Level League with DKIT and who has been impressive in the same competition to date this season, then surprised one of the tournament favourites Jack Davies when he came from behind to win an epic encounter 16-21, 21-19, 21-19, and set up a clash with Luke Moore in the final. Luke’s challenge proved too much for the gallant efforts of Foo, ensuring he captured another third-level title for IT Blanchardstown. Elsewhere, in the Men’s Shield, Justin Deligny defeated Matthew Soh (Griffith College), and Paddy Martin beat Aaron Tan (IT Tralee) to advance to the final where Justin was victorious when he overcame his fellow IT Tallaght student 21-14, 21-17.
In the Women's Singles, Tan Wee Ling and Megan Bredin asserted their dominance from the beginning of the group stages with victories over Cheuk Wing (UU Coleraine), Aoife Boylan (IT Tallaght), and Alisha Burke (Letterkenny IT). However, both players then overcame stern opposition from Aileen Pfuffe (IT Carlow), before eventually progressing to set up a final clash with one another. The first set was a nip and tuck affair with Ling taking the decisive points for it to finish 21-18, but a determined Bredin immediately responded to take the second on a score line of 21-14 and ensure there would be a decisive third set. Ling however would finish the stronger, winning 21-10 in the third to claim victory.
Overall, the event proved to be a success with eight colleges represented and Badminton Ireland Development Officer Fiach Andrews had the follwing to say post-event; "We are working closely alongside Student Sport Ireland to ensure that we are providing more playing opportunities for players at third-level, and in the past few months we have managed to achieve this with the hosting of a XD Doubles Open in November, and then again today with the MS/WS Open. The desire for such events is clear when you consider some students travelled from as far as Coleraine, Letterkenny, and Tralee to compete, and the assurance for the students they would get a minimum of two games is essential given the time it took some of the players to travel to Baldoyle today. Moving forward, both ourselves and Student Sport Ireland are committed to the continued growth and development of the game at third-level".
The Student Sport Ireland League Finals take place on March 06th, and current league standings can be viewed here.
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